Rudyard Kipling not only wrote stories, he killed Wesen in India-Wesen of a kind that sacrifices humans. Kipling’s yet another random historical figure with grimm or wesen roots in Grimm’s specific and specialized world. The wesen in “Highway of Tears”, whose name escapes me, are an afterthought, though. They barely appear after the teaser. The Indian roots of the wesen seems more inspired by the Rudyard Kipling reveal than for the story. Nick becomes a grimm again at the end of the episode, after he’s cornered by the villains of the week. They’re a non-threat, Nick’s a grimm, and he takes care of them as quickly as the writers introduced them and then decided, “Well, this didn’t work.”
No, the case-of-the-week, the villainous wesens of the week, does not work in “Highway of Tears.” One must work at establishing the characters’ motivations, of establishing the threat, but Nick and Hank spend more snapping pictures with Wu in the forests than pursuing the leads. What leads them to the villains is happenstance, dumb luck-the new love interest character for Hank visits the junkyard after she and the boys discover scrap metal models at the crime scene. Hank thinks less about the kidnapped victim and more about the officer he met and made brief eyes at, and whom he’ll enjoy scattered C stories with in upcoming episodes. Nick kills the villains, saves his friends, and the victim, though the victim is an afterthought, nameless, and his wife, the injured almost-kidnapped victim, never appears after she’s stretchered into the ambulance and out of the story. So, the case-of-the-week is filler and forgettable, one of the barely-assed procedural stories grimm will throw out every season.
Nick waits to become a grimm. His friends, too, wait for him to become a grimm. A problem with that storytelling approach is the waiting, the passivity, and the inactivity. Any creative writing course—whether it’s fiction concentrated or screenwriting—will urge the student to activate the characters. There’s nothing to do with characters waiting. Of course, not all characters must be active heroes, storming through scenes, working to change himself or herself. Chekhov, one of the great dramatists in history, didn’t populate his plays and his stories with supremely active characters. His characters sat, waited, dwelled in the past, idealized the future, but waited, waited, waited-his three sisters, for example, for Moscow, or the doomed Nina in The Seagull, for love, or the sad-sack males, Andrey in The Three Sisters, or Dmitri in The Lady with the Dog. Characters depend upon the story into which they act. Humbert Humbert does not exist without his story, but neither does the story exist with Humbert Humbert. Okay, I’m veering, digressing, becoming lost in the literary woods. The waiting period for Nick is more urgent because of the wesen threats posed to Rosalee and Monroe. He needs the ability back before something more terrible happens to his friends. Until then, his friends’ great protection is Juliette’s gun; however, Trubel’s a grimm, too, which lessens urgency. It’s clear nothing will happen to Nick if his powers do not return by episode’s end. When it does, it’s a ‘Oh, yeah…cool.” He defeats a guy with two minutes of development.
Viktor and Adalind, over breakfast, deduce who took Adalind’s child. Josh takes shelter in Portland, in Nick’s home. Trubel handles a FBI trailer by blowing out two of his tires with a knife. Viktor and Adalind don’t appear after they deduce how and why Nick’s mother took her child. The consequences of that discovery may take centuries to unfold. Renard’s mother plans to find Nick’s mother. None of these other stories are stories, per se. It’s exposition and movement. Brief sketches. Viktor and Adalind need to move beyond the Austrian castle. There’s nothing for Renard’s mother in Portland. Josh brings the key drama to Portland. Trubel decides to tell Nick about Chavez and the FBI. It aired Black Friday evening, the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s a long season. It’s not a good episode.
-Never drive the scenic route at night. Why bother? One may remark, “The trees look foreboding shrouded in darkness.” I’d think Oregonian scenic byways would heal the soul, such as the 101. The victims of the week chose to drive the scenic route at night.
-Alan DiFiore wrote the episode. John Behring directed.